153. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State 1

2205. Literally eyes only to Rusk and McNamara from Lodge. From a very reliable source I reamed after McNamara departure that “Big” Minh stated on Wednesday2 afternoon that he was planning a coup to overthrow Khanh. This should be very closely held because knowledge of it might create the very developments we wish to discourage. Khanh is infinitely the best bet in this country.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 VIET S. Secret; Priority; Exdis.
  2. May 13.
  3. On May 15, Lodge sent the following update to Rusk and McNamara in telegram 2213 from Saigon:

    “Since my 2205, I have learnt that ‘Big Minh’ is moving at a very slow speed and letting things come to him, and that there is no high pressure plot to get anything done quickly. What is chiefly significant is the state of mind. My present intention is that it would do more harm than good for me to tell Khanh that I am aware of this. Undoubtedly, he is thoroughly aware of it and has been for a long time. I will exercise my best judgment.” (Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 VIET S)